Sharm el Sheik, 5 December 2007 Press release

Winkler: "EU-Africa – A promising partnership on equal terms"


State Secretary Hans Winkler at the preparatory Foreign Ministers meeting for the EU-Africa Summit

Sharm el Sheik, 5. December 2007 - "For seven years now, there has not been a single meeting at Head of State and Government level between the European Union and the African states. The obstacles that prevented an EU-Africa summit in the past have now been removed," said State Secretary Hans Winkler at the preparatory Foreign Ministers meeting for the EU-Africa Summit.

"Africa has long become an important partner of Austria and the EU. In an increasingly integrated world, we need a strong, functional Africa. An Africa which is treated on equal terms and with equal rights. The Joint EU-Africa Strategy to be adopted at the summit in Lisbon next weekend is an important development in our relations - we are moving away from a donor-recipient momentum toward a relationship that, among others, is characterized by the recognition that peace and security now form a framework for sustainable development," said Winkler.

"Military presence alone will not solve the problems of many countries and regions in Africa. It is not a substitute for the political solution we need in many places, and of which human security is the central element. It will be decisive for the economic and political future of Africa to continue the positive reform course," said the State Secretary.

"Only if we succeed in bringing foreign capital and foreign know-how to Africa will we be able to effectively and sustainably fight poverty on this continent. Only then it will be possible to develop and maintain political and economic institutions. Such institutions that are in position to effectively address and master challenges like HIV/Aids, regional and national conflicts, urbanization and migration," stressed Winkler.

"We must succeed in giving the young people of this continent - accounting for half the population of Africa - a future in their own country. The jointly developed EU-Africa Strategy is a comprehensive, ambitious strategic partnership. We want to bring the people of our two continents closer together, we want an economic partnership, a common engagement for peace and stability, and we want to cooperate closely toward the solution of urgent global issues such as controlling climate change," said Winkler.

The objective of the EU’s Africa Strategy is a comprehensive partnership with Africa, which includes all states of the African continent and combines the different political approaches and development policy programmes of the EU Commission and the Member States. The common strategy consists in supporting Africa to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and in strengthening cooperation especially in the areas of human rights, good governance, sustainable economic growth, and regional integration and trade.

Federal Ministry for
European and international Affairs
Katharina Swoboda
Office of the State Secretary
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3469